Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Youtube reminded me that I like makeup! (See also: Femme Invisibility??)

The title of this post makes no sense, I'm aware. But trust me, we'll get there.

So let me back up a bit.  Many years ago, back when I was straight and married and all that jazz, I was also very very into makeup. I had a lot of it, I thought about it alot, I was always trying to figure out how it worked and what to do, and was kind of into the science and art of it (nerd alert). Looking back on it, I also think at that time makeup was a way for me to hide, and escape, and be something other than myself.  I have a conflicted relationship with how I look (and wrote about it hereand I'm pretty sure that for much of my life, I've used makeup to be other, and to seem "perfect" and "nice" so that nobody could see who I really was.

Sad, huh?

So then, when I left my marriage, left that life, and dove head first into my new found lesbian-ness, I kind of stopped wearing makeup? It wasn't a conscious thing, but it was almost like I felt like I didn't need to pretend to be something I wasn't, there wasn't so much pressure to appeal to the Male Gaze, and I felt liberated in that. NOT that I wore makeup before because I was trying to hide that I was gay--I WASN'T gay then, so that's not what I was hiding. I think I was just hiding that I was someone OTHER than the person everyone thought I was. I was more counter-culture, I was more bawdy, I was less nice, I was more snarky and loud and wild than most people knew, and I think "putting on my face" every day was a way to hide all of THAT stuff.  I spent a lot of time feeling like the real me was just TOO MUCH. And so I hid.

But then, once I was living on my own, and not with a man, and was dating women and starting to live authentically, I guess I felt that I didn't need to cover up so much. Which was a good thing.  But I was also confused about how the "girly" parts of myself--my appreciation of lip gloss and a flawless face and dramatic lashes--could fit in with the gay parts of myself.  I remember going to Stiletto for the first time, wearing heels and makeup, and I felt completely awkward and out of place. And like I had missed the memo. I didn't have to dress like that anymore, duh. And it turned out that I really didn't want to dress like that anymore, at least not then.

So I threw my heels in the back of my closet, and reveled in being more comfortable when I went out, and in not having to work so hard to "look nice", and in feeling more like myself as I chopped off my hair and started dressing not for the stereotypical "man" but for women. For me.

So how does Youtube fit into all of this??? Why am I rambling at you? Are you even still reading this? Right. So during this time, I discovered the talented and hilarious Hannah Hart, who created My Drunk Kitchen and is on her way to being quite famous.  Here's one of my favorite vids of hers, an oldie but a goodie:

And then I saw a video she did with "professional fangirl" Tyler Oakley, who I then learned is my spirit animal because of his thirst for One Direction....but...let me not go into that right now....moving on!

Okay, so then I saw one of Tyler's videos with Tanya Burr, who is a makeup artist in the UK who is adorable and charming and makes awesome, helpful videos that made me remember how much I love makeup! But my favorite video of hers is actually this one, which has absolutely nothing to do with makeup and just involves a lot of screaming. Comic gold, I swear:

So, I saw that video, started clicking around on her channel, and was like "Ohhhhhhhhh, pretty...." and found myself being drawn back to my still quite large makeup collection, and trying things out again. And it's fun! And I like putting sparkly stuff on my eyes and "contouring" and all that shit, ok?! I LIKE PLAYING WITH MAKEUP OKAY.

But, I can't help but will anyone know that I'm gay now? And WHAM, just like that the Femme Invisibility problem slaps me in the face again.

Though I haven't really written about it much, I think about Femme Invisibility a lot. Both my girlfriend and I "pass" as straight. At my job, even before I started wearing makeup again, the assumption is that I am a straight woman, and if anyone wonders if maybe I'm not straight, it's only because I am always trying to advocate for queer issues and make sure to always bring them up in meetings. But if I am walking down the street, especially if I'm dressed for work, no one would ever think that I love eating pussy. Which I do.

And that bothers me. Maybe it shouldn't bother me? I don't know, but it does.  And so I find myself conflicted and confused and wondering why it matters so much to me that people on the street not assume I'm a straight person just because I'm wearing blush and lipgloss.  And why is that the assumption that's made anyway? It's not fair, to any of us, really, gay or straight or anything in between, that any assumptions are made at all, in either direction.

And yet, we are human beings, and human beings like labels and boxes.

I don't know what to do about any of this, it's just where I'm at right now, all thanks to Youtube (you see? I told you!).

The good news is that a documentary is in the works that tackles the Femme Invisibility issue head on.  It's called Girl On Girl. I am EXTREMELY excited about this project, and plan to donate the 5 cents I can spare when they launch their IndieGoGo campaign OCTOBER 2.

My two reactions after watching the trailer? 1) Oh, there I am!! 2) THANK YOU.

Girl on Girl: an original documentary -- Official Promo Trailer from Jodi Savitz on Vimeo.

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